Play-or-Pay Provisions in Health Care Bills Must be Balanced with Making Coverage Affordable for All Americans

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Alan Barber, (202) 293-5380 x115

Play-or-Pay Provisions in Health Care Bills Must be Balanced with Making Coverage Affordable for All Americans

WASHINGTON - As Congress considers the pros and cons of health care reform proposals, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research

While all of the leading health care reform proposals require
individuals to obtain health care coverage, the report, "Employer Responsibility in Health Care Reform: Potential Effects on Low- and Moderate-Income Workers,"
explains that they differ in how they would require employers to share
in the costs of coverage for their employees. It also finds that while
the size of the Baucus play-or-pay provision is considerably smaller in
economic terms than the House or Senate HELP provisions, it has
significant drawbacks in terms of efficiency and equity.  The report
determines that the Baucus provision is considerably less efficient
than the other two provisions because it would be much more costly to
administer per dollar of revenue realized.

In addition, the report notes that minimizing employer costs needs to
be weighed against other more important health-reform goals, including
ensuring that coverage is both universal and affordable, and concludes
that the Baucus bill taken as a whole would impose relatively greater
costs on working- and middle-class families, and cover several million
fewer Americans, than the other proposals.

The full report can be found here.
(CEPR) reviews the employer responsibility requirements-often referred
to as "play-or-pay" provisions-and makes recommendations on how to best
structure such requirements to ensure that low-paid workers are not
negatively impacted by them.  It concludes that health insurance
generally would be less affordable for many working- and middle-class
families-as well as less universal-under the Baucus proposal than under
the House or Senate HELP proposals.

 

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The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) was established in 1999 to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people's lives. In order for citizens to effectively exercise their voices in a democracy, they should be informed about the problems and choices that they face. CEPR is committed to presenting issues in an accurate and understandable manner, so that the public is better prepared to choose among the various policy options.

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